2015 SPYC (St. Petersburg Yacht Club) Classic Regatta and a swarm of biting flies…

2015 SPYC (St. Petersburg Yacht Club) Classic Regatta and a swarm of biting flies…

A few shots of sailing today and the SPYC Classic Regatta 2015.  If you want a photo from the this site (maybe your boat) let me know, I’ll send you the original if I can find it….  You’ll owe us a beer!

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Tales from the blog…. We (mostly) had an awesome sail today up Tampa Bay taking a N.W. heading out of St. Pete towards “Beercan Island” (Pine Key). With about 20 miles covered in 5 hrs in light and variable winds… We sailed around annoying crab trap hazards and the 40 or so boats participating in the St. Pete Yacht Club’s annual Classic Regatta and then proceeded to chow down on a tasty lunch while underway. As the day progressed with freshening winds, all was awesome, until we ran into a swarm of horrible biting flies… So there we were, patting ourselves on the back for doing a smooth 3-4kts on a very long port tack downwind broad reach back to St. Pete. until we crossed paths with the cursed flies. Dolphins breached nearby, pelicans gracefully floated along, and then they (the damned flies) appeared out of nowhere, hundreds of them. The only saving grace was we weren’t the only ones enduring the end of the world wrath, we saw our boat neighbor a hundred or so yards off our port side running around frantically topside swinging a towel around and then fired up the iron sail to try and get away from them. We followed suit and started motoring at almost max RPMs making 6.5 kts and trying to swat the flies off the boat. We managed to lose most of them over the next half hour motoring in, but a few malingerers stuck with us and refused to abandon the transom. I think I got bit at least 50 times. At this point we were tired and worn out when we uneventfully backed into the slip. Silently without discussion decided not to overnight on the boat again this day. With a purpose, we quickly packed up and loaded the truck, had our quick goodbyes with the liveaboards on our dock, and drove away. We called ahead and picked some delicious Thai food take out on the way home. Once home, quickly unloaded the truck, started laundry, and gorged on aforementioned food. Made our way to the back porch to relax. Damn flies!!! Any who, that steak marinating in the boat fridge made its way back to the house and will be just as delicious on the back porch grill mañana.

A Three Day and Two Overnight Shakedown

A Three Day and Two Overnight Shakedown

Brian had to work New Year’s Eve, so I spent the day pulling weeds, edging, mowing, cutting the hedges and pressure washing at the house.  We’ve both been so busy with the boat and work that the house has been neglected a bit.  With the yard looking fabulous, I was spent by the time Brian came home and asked for a “bye” as to spending New Year’s eve on the boat.  I needed sleep, and made it to 8PM.  The following day, sore but well-rested, we packed the truck, and headed to the boat.

MMM, Steak and Eggs!
MMM!, Steak and Eggs!

A stop to Home Depot for denatured alcohol for the stove, along with sustenance at Taco Bus and provisioning Bagel Bites at Publix…  Oddly, the marina was pretty dead when we arrived.  Perhaps it was due to the previous evening’s festivities or the fact it was a Thursday.  Nonetheless, we unpacked and Brian set about figuring out our wonky wi-fi module thingie.  After an hour of rerouted calls to different countries, he finally got it working.  Hooray!  During this time, I ventured out and took pictures.  Upon my return, I popped the cork on a bottle of DaVinci Chianti and poured myself a drink in the new unbreakable stemware.  “Aren’t you going to get out your laptop?”  Nope.  I just sat in the cockpit, watching the sun set, and did nothing.  It was so quiet and serene.  We watched a few episodes of Distant Shores, and had our own Serenity cocktail hour.  Eventually, Brian filled the fuel containers on the stove with the denatured alcohol.  We had an Origo stove on Wu-Wei, but never used it.  And now, here we were, about to use our Origo 6000 oven.  Hey!  It worked!  After a good burn in, the oven was ready to receive the small bar Pampered Chef stone pan filled with Bagel Bites. (The story of Bagel Bites- while reading Wayne’s (previous and only owner before us) log, “Went to friends’ boat.  Dinner consisted of mini bagel pizzas…”  This same statement was repeated often.  So it was only fitting to honor Wayne.)  By 9PM, I called it a night.  Crap.  I discovered I left my glasses at the house- I am blind without them!  Good thing the boat has a toilet that works.  I did not sleep well, nor did Brian, and kept waking up every hour and then falling back into a fitful sleep.  The bilge pump going off at 3AM was also a new sound.  (Condensation.)

Awoke to thick, dense fog.  It was chilly, too.   I baked cinnamon rolls in the oven, and we devoured them.  After showers at the marina (by the time Brian got there, there was no hot water.  Dislike!), we ventured out to walk around St. Pete for a bit.  What a neat city!  There are so many things to do and see there.  Around lunch time, we found a Donner-kebab restaurant, and it was delicious.  We walked to Publix to get steaks for dinner.  Once we got back to the boat, we figured, oh hell, let’s drive back to the house to retrieve forgotten glasses, grab a few extra pillows, and a couple of other things.  The drive back took 30 minutes- awesome!  This was convenient!  It warmed up, and the fog started to clear when we got back to St. Pete.  We decided to hit up the much coveted, “First Friday.”  Yeah, not so much- maybe if I was in my 20s… Overrated for our age group.  Went back to the boat and decided to fire up the Force 10 to make steaks while I opened a bottle of 2013 Santa Cristina wine.  Brian had commented he was leary of it.  “But it worked fine in the backyard!!!  What can go wrong?!?”  A lot, apparently.  About 10 minutes after he lit it, the damn grill set itself on fire.  Brian ran for the hose to extinguish it, turned it off, and removed the propane tank before it exploded.  We are both thankful THIS happened at dock.  “That’s it, we are getting a new Magma instead.”  The campfire potatoes went in the oven, and we ate them with a bagged salad.  We slept much better with the additional pillows.

82 in Jan!
January!!! :)

I awoke this morning to a beautiful clear day (it was going to be 82 degrees!), and set about cooking breakfast in my awesome stowing boatshow-purchased pans (the removable handles rock, and everything cooks pretty evenly!)- leftover potatoes, steaks, and scrambled organic eggs, on the Origo.  Breakfast was delicious!  There is nothing like a hot breakfast on a boat!  Brian also got a hot shower today at the marina.  Afterwards, we headed to the St. Pete Saturday market- wow!  This did INDEED impress!  Organic farmers’ markets, art, soap and so many wonderful food vendors (is it irony The Taco Ladies are a few stalls away from The Guacamole Dude?)  I commented to Brian, while drinking an Horchata, “From now on, if we are at dock, I will no longer cook on Saturdays.  Tamales, empanadas, AND Thai food?!  Be still, my heart!”  I did purchase a lemongrass plant, some daikon, and cheese curds. When we got back to the boat, I filled out the sadly neglected boat logs while Brian cleaned and packed.  We left with a lot less than we came out with, and headed back to the house.
IMG_2023The good things about the shakedown at dock- it would have been a PITA out at sea to discover the mobile wi-fi hotspot needed to be reset.  And the grill’s “fireball” could have been deadly if we did not have a hose handy.  Also, we underestimated the amount of denatured alcohol the stove uses, the need for eyeglasses and pillows we need to keep us comfortable.  I know, these are first world problems.  On a positive note- the boat is comfy and roomy, and all systems work well.  We need to troubleshoot the mast anchor light (it has stopped working), and probably need to replace the stereo (it draws more than the Engel…  Priorities- faced with the choices of cold beer or Jimmy Buffett, sorry dude…  Cold beer wins!)